For folks who are purchasing bees as a gift I've uploaded cards that you can print to put under the Christmas Tree! These were very popular last year and there are four different versions to choose from.
It will be soon be the time to treat your broodless hives with oxalic acid vapor for varroa mites. This infographic provides a simple to follow set of the steps to complete a treatment.
This video demonstrates how to make larger quantities of sugar water for feeding honey bees. Video editing quality is not so good (sorry), but the information is all there. Note, it is 18 gallons of water, not 8. You can download a sugar calculator spreadsheet on my blog - www.backfortybees.com/blog
I built a bee escape ( also known as a clearing board) a while back. You place these in between honey supers and the brood boxes (or any other box you are leaving on) and after 24 hours the bees have gone down, but not back up. It works, I use it on my hives. Why it works is up for debate, I’ve seen a lot of differing reasons (bees only turn one direction, etc). Once most of the bees have exited the honey super you can remove it to extract the honey.
For anyone else who wants to build one the dimensions for the larger triangle are 10.5″ (long edge) and 8″ (short edge). This will give you the correct angle. I was able to build it with leftover wood from my other projects, so that was a nice bonus.
The folks at the University of Georgia have investigated the treatment of honey bee packages with oxalic acid to kill the mites. You can read an article on this at Bee Culture magazine. I followed up with them and they provided a copy of the research paper on Spraying Packages with Oxalic Acid (file below) upon which the article was based. In addition, some hands-on advice on how to treat a package with a spray bottle, which I’ve copied below.
I cleaned up my solar wax melter today, it had a ton of slum gum in it (you can see it on the grass in the video). I put through some wax I had already rendered as it had more non-wax bits and pieces (bees, ants) than I wanted. You can see how hot the melter gets by how quickly the wax is melting. I added a clean piece of weed barrier as my filter – this works great and is cheap and easy to replace.
When a hurricane or storm heads towards your apiary you need to secure your hives stronger than just a brick on top! The easiest way I’ve found is to secure it with a ratchet strap and two pet anchors (only one in photo). You place an anchor on either side of the hive and then run the strap over it, tighten up, and you are done. You can drive stakes into the ground, but I’ve found this is the easiest for installation and removal. The pet anchor is in aisle 17 at my Lowes (BlueHawk – AC1017).
Unfortunately, this is an excellent photo of what it looks like when you have laying workers. I lost a queen for a hive over winter and on my full inspection last weekend I found this. The hive is too small to save (really a nuc) and I will be merging it with another queen right hive.
This is a simple spreadsheet which allows you to quickly calculate the amount sugar:water ratios for 1:1 and 2:1 syrup. The formula is simple, but this spreadsheet calculates it quickly for you to make life easy. Enjoy!
I took this video the other day when I arrived home from work. You can see dragonflies feeding on honey bees at the entrance of the hive. The dragonflies are easiest to see towards the end of the video. Apparently, in some areas, they eat so many bees they can cause a real problem. Here in Hampton Roads Virginia, I have not experienced this as a significant issue. For more info, see page 3 of this article.